Ever thrown a dog party? Ever wished you hadn’t?
Just as people parties can implode without the right combination of guests, food, and activities, so can affairs thrown for your four-legged friends. Torn-up favors, half-gnashed party cake, urine stains on the crepe paper — a dog party gone wrong isn’t pretty.
To save you from the shame of a party gone bad, we’ve got a few planning tips. that should make whatever you want to celebrate — from a Bark Mitzvah to a Puppy Shower— a pack of fun for dogs and humans both.
Invite the dog party right crowd
Here’s what you don’t want: Your guests growling, circling, and snapping at one another. Your chances of hosting a friendly gathering are much greater if your dogs already know — and get along with — each other. So invite a group you and your dog have buddied up to at the dog park. And don’t feel bad about leaving out the rabble-rousers; if you don’t tell them, they’ll never know.
Serve your guests out of separate bowls
Want to ruin your party? Set your dog-friendly cake down in the middle of the floor and let your dogs have at it. Even the most civilized guests will lose their heads when faced with a chance to scarf down the biggest piece of the cake.
So buy some sturdy paper bowls (so the cake is less likely to spill over the edge) and serve the cake on those. Make sure you feed all the dogs at the same time and give each enough space so they don’t feel crowded when they eat.
Give the dogs something to do
Without some central activity, your guests will grow restless, bored, and ill-behaved — as at any party. So whether it’s “toss the ball and see who gets it first,” or a best-dressed costume parade, pick one game everyone can participate in. Giving your human guests a chance to show off their pets will ensure it’s fun for them, too.
How to kill the fun? Keep guests longer than they want to be there. As with humans, it’s a strain for dogs to be on their best behavior. Without a break, even the most well-behaved dog will begin to find gnawing on a table leg — or on a neighbor’s leg — more inviting than posing for pictures.
So keep it short — anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes is a respectable length of time for an indoor party. If it’s outdoors, you’ve got much more flexibility. Even then, be sure to let everyone know they can go home whenever they feel like it, and they’ll leave happy.